I see it. You see it. Kenny Williams even sees it. This team needs Dayan Viciedo up here immediately. You can't have a lineup that has three legitimate threats and expect them to come all the way back and outlast the other 4 teams in an increasingly tight division race. Thats right, we are now closer to last place than first after the Twins yearly run that coincides with dominance over us. We are one game up in the loss column on the Twins and the new blood Royals, while 7 games back in the loss column of the first place Indians.
Yet Ozzie Guillen continues to send out a variation of his same stale lineup he has thrown out there since Opening Day. Meanwhile, you have a guy down in AAA that hit .308 for the big club last year, and according to all accounts, has improved his approach at the plate since then. Viciedo is hitting .324/.369/.538 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI's in 64 games for Charlotte. He also has received good reviews for his defensive play in the outfield.
I'm not an anti- Juan Pierre guy...at least not as much as some people. However, when Pierre isn't running wild on the basepaths- and he isn't (10 SBs, 9 CSs)- and he is surrounded by struggling players like Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel and AJ Pierzynski, a change is needed. Obviously Dunn is going to stick in the lineup on most occasions. Pierzynski is the catcher 6 times a week. Morel is a youngster who is finding his footing in the Majors. Beckham had a lot of promise and deserves another year to try to live up to it. Rios is the only true everyday center fielder on the club. Pierre is the guy that is most easily replaced. I have the feeling he would have been replaced a month ago if he wasn't Ozzie's guy. Pierre is also struggling mightily with the glove and has never had an arm. If you bring up Viciedo, you gain a better hitter for average and power, an outfield arm and the glove isn't going to be any worse than what Pierre has given you. The only thing you lose is speed, which Pierre isn't using anyway. It needs to happen soon and should have happened already. Viciedo can play left on most occasions, DH against tough lefties and give Quentin a day off when needed.
If the rest of the lineup was doing what they were supposed to do, maybe we could live with Pierre. They aren't though, so something needs to happen. That something is Pierre to the bench, or given his release. Pick one.
The votes for the SSS official third baseman has been tabulated. Adrian Beltre gets the call with 37 percent of the vote. Alex Rodriguez was 2nd with 26 percent and Evan Longoria managed 21 percent. Brent Morel had a few homers give him the nod (11 percent), and Maicer Izturis managed 5 percent.
In the National League, Ryan Zimmerman narrowly beat out Placido Polanco in our closest race yet. Zimmerman totaled 40 percent, while Polanco netted 35 percent. Zimmerman has played in 12 games this year. Way to go SSSers.
Next up is the backstops. Here is the ballot for the catchers.
In honor (?) of me getting the boot at work yesterday, I decided to take a look at the Managers of the White Sox since I have been following them, and how they have either landed on their feet or faltered.
Tony LaRussa- LaRussa got canned from the White Sox in 1986, 3 seasons after leading the White Sox to the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. He immediately went to Oakland where he led the A's to much success in the late 80s and early 90s. From there it was on to the Cardinals, where he has been since 1996. LaRussa has been to 5 World Series since leaving the Sox, winning 2 of them.
Jim Fregosi- Fregosi took over for the final 96 games in 1986, and led the White Sox through some of their most trying times since I've been alive. He was shown the door following the 1988 season where the Sox went 71-90. He resurfaced in 1991, taking over the Phillies. In 1993, he led the Phillies to the World Series, where Joe Carter ended their dream. After 1996, he took a 3 year leave from the managerial ranks, but returned in 1999 and 2000 to manage the Blue Jays to a .515 winning percentage. He currently serves as the top advance scout for the Braves.
Jeff Torborg- One of my all time favorite White Sox managers was forced out the door by Ron Schueler following the 1991 season. He landed in New York for just over a year, before getting the boot 38 games into 1993. He went on to broadcast for Fox and CBS, before taking over the Montreal Expos in 2001. It was there where he gave Ozzie Guillen his first taste of coaching. The tandem then went down to Florida during the Jeffrey Loria deal, where Torborg managed the Marlins for the 2002 season and the first 38 games of the 2003 season. Torborg was fired after starting 2003 16-22 and replaced with Jack McKeon, who eventually guided the Marlins to the 2003 World Series Championship. Torborg has done some limited broadcasting since then.
Gene Lamont- Mean Gene was the manager of the great White Sox teams of the early 90s. He led the Sox to 86 wins in '92, 94 and a division championship in '93 and 67 and a first place finish in the strike shortened '94 campaign. After the strike, the Sox were a shell of their former selves and started out '95 11-20, when the ax fell on Lamont. In 1997, he took over the Pirates for 4 seasons, where he compiled a 295-352 record. He has since been a third base coach for the Red Sox, Astros and now the Tigers.
Terry Bevington- Often considered the worst White Sox manager of all time, Bevington took over for Lamont in '95. He went 57-56 the rest of the way. In 1996 and 1997, the Sox finished 2nd each year but had the talent to exceed those marks. Bevington ended his Sox managerial career 222-214, surprisingly over .500. He was most known for calling to the bullpen for a relief pitcher when nobody was warming up. He then was found Coaching 3rd for the Blue Jays from '99-'01, and has also managed several minor league teams, the last one in 2008.
Jerry Manuel- Manuel took over the Sox in '98 and stayed through '03. He compiled a 500-471 record for the Sox. His tenure produced the last rebuilding season the Sox have had, '99, where the club went 75-86 with a lot of young players. In 2000, the Kids showed the could play as Paul Konerko, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee joined Frank Thomas in leading the Sox to a 95-67 record and a 1st place finish. He was then terribly out managed by Lou Piniella and never reached the Playoffs again. He was replaced after the '03 season with current skipper, Ozzie Guillen. Manuel went on to coach and eventually manage the Mets where he led them to a 204-213 record in parts of 3 seasons. He now can be found doing some analysis on the MLB Network.
Hopefully I am a little more LaRussa and a little less Bevington as the future plays out.
* Sox vs. Cubs is this week. I know its the "cool thing" to say that the series is played out and overhyped. Screw that. I love going to those games every year. The Cubs have been playing a little better over this last week, while we have been floundering. Maybe the Crosstown Classic is just what we need to kick these guys in the ass and get them going again.
* Lets get these last 2 games over the Diamondbacks. John Danks has been pitching well of late and we are facing Zach Duke. Time for the bats to show up. Philip Humber takes the hill on Sunday against Josh Collmenter. Collmenter has been very good this year, but so has Humber.